Particle therapy is a generic term for radiotherapy using protons and heavy ions such as carbon. This is an alternative to traditional radiotherapy for cancer. Particle therapy allows higher doses to be administered with less radiation damage.
Proton radiation is unique because it can be calculated to the millimetre, and can thereby be concentrated to a very small area, i.e. the tumour’s exact location. The tissue around the tumour is therefore not affected to any great extent, and there are fewer side effects.
These advantages mean that particle therapy can be used close to sensitive areas such as the head and chest. The treatment is particularly well suited to children and young people with cancer, because less radiation exposure of the healthy tissue around the tumour means fewer side effects.
There are around 60 active particle therapy centres in the world, and as many are being planned or are under construction. Sweden’s first centre opened in 2015, while the first Danish centre is scheduled to open in 2018.
The Norwegian national budget for 2016 states the following (among other things) under the heading ‘Cancer’:
The national budget for 2017 states, under the heading ‘Particle therapy and proton therapy’:
The regional health trusts have studied different options for establishing particle therapy as a form of treatment in Norway. Reference is made to item 81 Proton centre, where an investment grant of NOK 75 million is proposed in 2017 for the pre-project phase for the establishment of proton therapy.
A further NOK 16.6 million is earmarked for raising competence and knowledge of proton therapy in Norway.
Item 81 also states that the regional health trusts are tasked with planning one centre by 2022, and step-by-step development, depending on capacity needs and developments in therapy technology.
“When I speak to molecular medicine experts, they refer to particle therapy as the most important treatment that can help the most patients,’ says Trond Mohn to the newspaper BT.